Projects Funded

In 2016 The Foundation will seek to fund the following 7 projects.

  1. The Manuela Programme October 2015 to date
    Initiating, Funding & Developing
  • In October 2015, all 16 Rape Crisis Centres throughout Ireland sent delegates to a two day conference in Galway, funded and hosted by The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland. This was the first step in harnessing their expertise to build a nationwide, comprehensive, evidence-based education programme targeting 15-16 year old transition year students in the area of sexual violence prevention.
  • The outcome of this conference and continued research, ‘The Manuela Programme’, has the potential to be a powerful prevention programme to reduce sexual violence by empowering the young participants with the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours.
  • It is a 6 module/ 12 hour class based engagement with students by Rape Crisis Centre educators/trainers and specially trained teachers and counsellors
  • The programme draws on best practice from Rape Crisis Centres as well as building on international evidence in the field.
  • A 15 minute film that will form an integral part of the programme is being scripted and filmed in conjunction with NUI Galway Theatre and Drama School. MRFI will both fund the production of this short film and the pilot of the completed Manuela Programme by the Rape Crisis Centres in 3 regionally spread schools in Ireland.


  1. CASATS in partnership with CARI, – Child Advocate Volunteer Training
    Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service West and Mid West Ireland & Child At Risk in Ireland
  • This project builds on a pilot study 2014-2016 funded by the Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland. The child and adolescent sexual assault treatment service, in Galway (CASATS), provides forensic medical examination to child victims of sexual violence 24 hours / day, 365 days / year. It is the only such unit in Ireland. It is proposed that every child of 14 years under engaging with the service, and their carer/s, will be assigned a volunteer CARI support worker to accompany them whilst they attend the Unit offering immediate practical and psychological support.
  • In addition to on-site accompaniment each family will be offered an aftercare service. A care worker (separate to the accompaniment officer) will contact the family in the days after initial assessment to see if they need further supports. This gives families the opportunity to ask sensitive questions, provides a forum for expert advice and offers longer term supports if indicated.
  • Provision of a crisis or psychological support worker is recommended in international service specifications for the clinical evaluation of children who may have been sexually abused but is not in place in Ireland outside of Galway.  The role of a CARI support worker mirrors existing gold standard practice in the SATU network Ireland servicing patients 14 years and up.
  • Based on figures from 2015 it is estimated that at least 69 children/ annum within 57 families attending CASATS will avail of a CARI accompaniment volunteer with 67% of families seeking aftercare support
  • The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland will fund over 50% of the costs associated with the recruitment and training of 6 additional volunteers for the existing Galway accompaniment service (17 workers). Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime will fund remainder. This ensures a 24 hour rota, continued aftercare support and monthly supervision of volunteers in line with best practice.


  1. Child At Risk in Ireland & SATU Rotunda Hospital Dublin -Sexual Assault Treatment Unit
    Child Advocate Volunteer and Accompaniment Service
  • Children 15 years and under in age fall outside the remit of Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) and cannot avail of RCC crisis support or the subsequent counselling offered to older victims. CARI’s forensic accompaniment service is well fitted to provide emotional and psychological support for such children.
  • CARI will set up a service to accompany children 14 years and under to the Rotunda SATU. This accompaniment service will complement the existing RCC adult accompaniment. The service will run 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. A CARI aftercare service will also ensure that such support is continued in the weeks and months following SATU attendance if the child and family feel such help is indicated.
  • A similar pilot project has been in place through the Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service (CASATS) in Galway, from 2014, aimed at younger child victims. The success of the project in Galway (helped by funding from MRFI in 2014 ) and positive feedback from service users (patients and their carers) has demonstrated the feasibility and need for such a service.
  • It is envisaged that the CARI project in the SATU, Rotunda Hospital, in conjunction with that already in place in Galway will play an important part in the ultimate establishment of similar support services for child victims of sexual abuse throughout Ireland.
  • The Manuela Riedo Foundation Ireland will fund 58 % of the costs associated with the recruitment and training of 25 volunteers for the accompaniment service. Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime will fund remainder
  1. Galway Rape Crisis Centre.
    Ongoing counselling waiting list reduction & increasing access to care.
  • At present there are 14 people on the long term counselling waiting list. MRFI will seek to raise funds in 2016 to take these clients off waiting list and fund long term healing through counselling. This is a significant decrease from 2013 where there was on average 45 people on the list. The average wait has also significantly decreased from 1 year to 5 months on average. This is directly due to the impact of ongoing grants from the MRFI foundation for this project. Through counselling, the Centre offers social support to survivors and helps them examine how the experience of sexual violence or abuse they went through has affected their lives. The centre provides a quality professional and confidential counselling service in a caring environment.
  • The impact of our services is evidenced by ever increasing demand; 2,690 face-to-face counselling sessions took place in the Galway Rape Crisis Centre (GRCC) in 2014. The GRCC helpline is a support service to ongoing clients, supporters of survivors or anyone else who might need to find out more about our services; there were, 3,155 calls to the helpline.  During 2014 there were 48 Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) These numbers validates the statistics that show when there is a dedicated service provided to victims of rape and sexual violence more people will attend for services and find help. Referrals from external services such as doctors and other social services also increase demand for our services.
  1. Mayo Rape Crisis Centre.
    60 hour Rape Crisis Network Ireland training course
  • MRFI will seek to fund a 60 hour Rape Crisis Network Ireland specialised training to already qualified accredited therapists, in the Mayo area, to enable them to work as voluntary counsellors in the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre. By training additional volunteer counsellors the Mayo Rape Crisis Centre could reduce the current waiting list in the Centre, therefore enabling survivors to be seen quicker.
  1. Dundalk – Rape Crisis North East
    Helpline volunteer counselling training
  • Funds from MRFI will train 10 helpline volunteers available to provide counselling support and information over the helpline. This will give immediate access to a wider range of women and men who need crisis intervention. The helpline support will be accessible by all including the unemployed, low income families, the disadvantaged, those with disabilities, the elderly, the young, those from rural and urban communities and those with little or if any educational backgrounds.
  • This training will assist in increasing the number of people availing of Rape Crisis North East counselling and support.
  • With the availability of additional trained helpline volunteers the service will increase and be advertised in Louth, Meath, Monaghan and Cavan.


  1. 2016 Irish National Conference and Training Day of the Sexual Assault Treatment Units (SATU), Rotunda Hospital Dublin,
  • This conference to be held in Galway, October 2016, will bring together a multidisciplinary team of professionals in the field with expert national and international specialist speakers. This training day/ conference brings both international and national best practice to those working in frontline positions of forensics, policing, care, therapy and medical practice.
  • This will be the 6th consecutiveyear that MRFI will fund this important project.


Projects funded 2010- 2015

Education, Awareness & Prevention

Schools’ Education and Awareness Programme

  • For a period of three years, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Foundation funded Galway Rape Crisis Centre’s Education and Awareness Programme in secondary schools throughout Galway City and County. In 2009 only 4 workshops were possible due to lack of funding. As a result of our funding 62 workshops were held in 2010. Since then 188 educational workshops have taken place in schools and college directly reaching over 5,000 young people.
  • Funded an evaluation study by Dr Siobháin O’Higgins of National University of Ireland Galway of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre’s Education and Awareness Programme.


National Training Day – Sexual Assault Treatment Units of Ireland

  • Funded the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 Irish National Conference and Training Day of the Sexual Assault Treatment Units, Rotunda Hospital, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of professionals in the field with expert national and international specialist speakers. This training day/ conference brings both international and national best practice to those working in frontline positions of forensics, policing, care, therapy and medical practice.
  • In 2015 funded telephone crisis counsellor training in Dundalk’s Rape Crisis North East Centre which trained 10 counsellors.
  • Part funded Rape Crisis Network Ireland Seminar – Alcohol and Sexual Violence, NUIG 2013.

Rape Crisis Network Ireland – Programmes Reach 7,500 Young People

  • Part funded the 2012 Rape Crisis Network Ireland education programme through youth groups in Ireland. To date 300 youth workers have been trained in the Real U programme and they have been delivering the programme to approximately 7,500 young people. 25 Rape Crisis Centre (RCC) trainers have been trained to deliver the programme and 8 RCC FETAC Accredited trainers are now delivering the train-the-trainer aspect of the programme thus allowing RCNI to continue to increase the numbers of youth trainers.
  • Funded the upgrade of the Galway Rape Crisis Centre social media platform increasing its contact from under 200 contacts to over 5,000.
  • Funded Galway’s Sexual Assault Treatment Unit awareness raising multimedia campaign in GP clinics and evening seminar for medical and legal professionals focused on increasing interagency awareness in procedures and best practice.


Reduction of Rape Crisis Counselling Waiting List Galway, Kerry and Tullamore

  • The funds raised in 2013 to 2015 have been targeted at taking over 45 clients off the Galway Rape Crisis Centre waiting list for long term counselling of victims of sexual assault and rape, which stood at greater than six months in December 2013.
  • 50% of the GRCC entire waiting list is under the age of 24. Research indicates that 16-24 year olds are most at risk and this is translating into the increase in young clients attending Galway Rape Crisis Centre for counselling.
  • Also in 2015 MRFI raised money to relieve rape crisis waiting lists for counselling in both in Kerry and Tullamore. These funds allowed the delivery of professional counselling services to men and women affected by sexual violence. It provided 400 crisis counselling sessions and was certain to make a real difference to so many people’s lives.

16 Child Advocate Volunteers Trained – with potential to Support 60-70 Families

  • Galway-based CASATS (Child and Adolescent Sexual Assault Treatment Service) and voluntary organisation CARI (Children at Risk Ireland) provide a range of services for children affected by child sexual abuse. Funds from the Manuela Riedo Foundation allowed them pilot a unique best practice project; training and piloting volunteer Child and Family Accompaniment Officers to support child victims of sexual assault.
  • This is the only such service in Ireland. In 2014, 16 volunteers were identified and trained. This project aimed to offer support to between 60-70 families throughout the West of Ireland from first point of contact with Forensic Medical Services. This service is and will make a huge difference and will enhance psychological and practical support to child victims and their families at a time of crisis and ultimately to promote healing.
  • Funded a Galway Rape Crisis teenage support group which ran over the summer months in 2010. This programme made strides in breaking the isolation often felt by teenage survivors.
  • Funded for period of three years 2010, 2011 and 2012 monies raised have funded a Galway Rape Crisis Centre counsellor to attend an outreach centre in Co. Galway.
  • Assist funding to the 3rd International Conference for Survivors of Rape held in Galway, November 2012. This conferences’ objective were to seek to deepen an understanding of how to meet survivor’s needs with a sustained and robust multiagency approach.
  • Funded the production of 2 training and education videos for the Galway Sexual Assault Treatment Unit and the Rape Crisis Network Ireland that will assist victims, their families and service professionals in preparation for both Treatment Unit and Court attendance


Foundation funded video wins national healthcare award

The Manuela Reido Foundation Ireland funded the development of a pre-attendance information video, facilitated, co-scripted and filmed by students from Huston School of Film and Media, NUIG.

The video explains the process of a Paediatric Forensic Medical Examination and attempts to minimise distress for child and carers; to dispel potential myths in relation to intimate examination of a pre-pubertal child; to highlight a child centred, therapeutic and positive approach; to give the child and family confidence and control through knowledge; and to stress health, as well as forensic, benefits to examination. This video won the Best Student Project of the Year, Irish Medical Times Healthcare Awards, November 2012.